Let’s talk about LOSS – Holiday Season
It is true and to say first and foremost, loss is a bitch of thing to experience. It has a way of steam rolling you right out of your day. Definitely holiday season does not help as the holidays are often centred round sharing happy times with family and loved ones. What is going to exaggerate or increase a feeling of loss? Absolutely correct and right, the feeling of loss is exaggerated by they are just not here anymore. This can be a very tough pill to swallow, even tougher when nobody else seems to get what it you are feeling.
I have experienced loss in what has felt like the most tremendous form of grief I could ever imagine and so my understand of loss for others is along the lines of how I have experienced such deep and devastating feelings that, I began to understand how hard it is to get my mind and self around it, that it has to be extremely difficult for everyone. The loss in my own life has been the death of my children; yes you did read that correctly. In 2011 my first born son Darra died of what is known as “Sudden death”. He was 15 years of age at the time and he did not wake up one morning for school. He passed away in his sleep and that was the beginning of my own serious and intense life of grief and experiences of loss. Yes, I did say children above. Darra was my first born son and we now closing in on the end of his birthday month, November and then we commence the beginning of the holiday season and the December. Darra’s anniversary is in December as he passed away 12/12/2011. Quite a while ago now isn’t it?
During that time in December 2011 I kind of fell out of love with Christmas and the holidays and had no more care for new years or any of the festivities and then each and every year since it has been a tough month to go through, what with his anniversary and the remembering of the whole ordeal of 2011. So, I know exactly what the holiday season is like when we are in a journey of grief and experiencing loss. Boy oh boy did I wish never to become so deep in it or have to learn my way through it or around it, I promise you that. Nonetheless I am here writing this blog post today some 11 years later. I could go into all the details about how it has been or what it was like, safe to say you could read all about my experiences in my memoir, TWO sons TOO many.
Yes TWO sons, to lose one child is too much for any parent to have to go through in one lifetime and for me to lose TWO sons has been for sure 1 son TOO many, hence the title TWO sons TOO many.
During my new life as a man who didn’t know what this loss feeling was and what grief was all about I had the beautiful experience of becoming father again, Patrick was born in 2013 in February and it was the weirdest feeling ever. To be so happy to have a new son and a second chance at this game of life all the while grieving and pining for Darra, it was probably the closest I will ever understand to what it might mean to experience “bitter sweet” feelings. I got to spend a year and a little more with Patrick and he died in 2014 in a drowning accident. My little angel sent to cheer me up and deliver to me new hope, a lifeline thrown to me in a sea where I was drowning in grief for Darra. My two babies gone.
So what of the holidays and how do we survive these times where all family and loved ones get to spend time together? How do we turn a feeling of loss into something can become bearable for us?
We can look back at the nicer memories as a starting point. We can recall the nicer times we did actually spend with our loved ones and though they are not with us today, we do possess the ability to turn a sad day into a nice day. I didn’t say “a great day” on purpose because it can be hard in times f loss to achieve a great day. What we definitely can do is have a nice day, this I am certain of because I now in my life have many nice days.
It really all does begin with how we can begin to understand that when we are overwhelmed by our emotions that they still remain as emotions. Yes our mind can wander off into dark places and we just want to keep on crying, be it on the inside and privately or completely out in the open. We possess the ability to take charge over our own journey in grief and loss. We can decide, “Today WILL be a nice day”, we have the power to decide this. Did you know that?
We can recall the nice times we spent wit our loved ones and we can see a smile and remember the times where we were so totally happy/in love/over the moon with the person we have lost in our lives.
We CAN do this and it is not something I just decided to write because it sounds nice or anything like that. I have lived it and now today as a father who has lost his two sons, I write this to encourage any person who is experiencing loss or might be drowning in grief. It is POSSIBLE, it just is hard to imagine, so why not begin to give it a go. Forget about imagining it anymore and simply DO IT.
Yes it will be the holidays and yes the world does not make much sense a lot of the time though there are some things we can take charge of. My feelings of loss are feelings and they will come and go. Am I going to sit around and lose out on enjoying my daughter’s life because I am too caught up in the misery of loss? No!
Are any of us going to allow what we feel to completely take over our lives because we are unsure or we are confused and the world does not make sense any more because we have experienced loss? No!
Are any of us going to hold back and not allow our pain to pass through us? No! These my friends are the holidays and holiday season that I have been referring to and it is in the title too, HOLIDAY. Take a break from what feels like it has been breaking you and give yourself the holiday. Look back on the fond memories and smile. Yes indeed I can recall when I felt so guilty to smile and to laugh; some will call it survivors’ guilt because my loved one is the one that is gone and not me. I remember how exactly it felt and it is not a nice place, I understand that. Our time here on this planet is to live, so let us live on in the memory of or in the idea of making our loved ones proud or even in the idea that our loved one would never wish us not to enjoy our holiday time. Most all of whom have gone before us wish for us to have the most amazing life and time here in our life time, right? So let us do it for them for now as a starting point. Let us brave face the world and seek out the magic and beauty that exists. Done are the days of keeping the blinds pulled across or the blankets over our heads. Let’s live and let’s show our beautiful loved ones that we mean business t0 enjoy our time in this world.
I live my life to make Darra & Patrick happy. I even speak out loud to them all day every day. A simple decision of turning left or right and I can be heard saying “what do you think guys?”. Yup it works for me and has done for a number of years now, so give it a try. Find what works for you and stick to it, give yourself every chance and opening to find that contentment again. Forget about happy for now. Focus on being content in the grief journey you are on and enjoy as many of the small simple things in life to help build up steady by steady the nice feelings. Watch how they will grow too and what a daily nice feeling can add up to and the see saw continues. Slowly but surely the nice will out weigh the bad and we can find a way through the holiday season while experiencing loos and feeling grief.
Happy Thanks giving as they saw this time of year; it is a simple way in which we can see how something can work in our favour even though nothing of grief or feelings of loss can feel nice. I am thankful that Darra & Patrick came into my life and thought me so much. I am grateful and thankful for all that I have experience because of their very existence. Yes, much of what I have experience since their passing has been painful, it is because they have existed that I learned love as a father and that I then felt pain and hurt as a grieving father. For these intense and very real feelings I am thankful to them every day. Darra & Patrick I give thanks to you for helping daddy see things deeper in his life and helping me to grow on my journey of loss. I am thankful and I am learning every day how to know what it is to appreciate our fond memories and I look forward to the holiday season now and yes I might cry a little from time to time I remain ever thankful for your life and for your passing as I got so much from you both.
I also mention happy thanks giving to you all for the reason of I have another book where I discuss how it is that I came to navigate through my thoughts and feelings and I have offered this book “Layman’s Handbook in life” by me Aidan Mc Nally, I offer this at a special discount for “Black Friday” so that all out there who have a difficult time overcoming or learning on their own journey can find some simple tools to help and assist in making it easier.
Layman’s Handbook in life is a book where I wished I had to turn to during my darker hours and felt compelled to write it. You can grab a copy for only 99 cents on Black Friday on Amazon. My gift to show my thanks and to help all who may need it right now.. It is because I know this journey of overcoming trauma that I was able to first hand write about it.
And of course it is title Layman’s because I am a layman who has been in and around the block once or twice in my lifetime and I wish for others to gain insight through my own learning.
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